Water Management

Water is one of our most precious resources. That's why we're committed to securing local water supplies, reduce water usage, and enhance waterways.

Melbourne has some of the highest-quality drinking water in the world. Most of our drinking water comes from forests high up in the Yarra Ranges. Many of Melbourne’s reliable water resources were established decades ago.

What Council is doing

How Council is saving water and improving the quality of our water in Brimbank

As part of our long-term projects we need to address the challenges of climate change, population growth and improving waterway health without impacting our reliance on drinking water. We're committed to a whole of water cycle management approach to secure local water supplies, reduce water usage and enhance local waterways. Through our Sustainable Water Management Strategy (2013-2023), we've committed to targets that will reduce our potable water use, increase our use of alternative water sources, and reduce pollutants entering waterways. Part of our Water Strategy is to aim for water stewardship (using water wisely) and water quality (healthy waterways).

Council’s focus since the Strategy’s adoption has been to diversify irrigation supplies via alternative water sources for example, stormwater harvesting systems.

Alternative Water Sources

Council and City West Water manage multiple stormwater harvesting systems that reduce our reliance on drinking water supplies. It makes Brimbank’s open space more resilient to the impacts of drought and water restrictions. These stormwater harvesting systems are at Cairnlea, Green Gully Reserve, Keilor Recreation Reserve, Keilor Golf Course and Balmoral Park. A further system at our Keilor Operations Centre harvests water for washing vehicles and garbage trucks.

In 2019/20, Council’s stormwater harvesting systems saved over 67ML of drinking water (or enough to fill 26 Olympic sized swimming pools).

In 2021, a new stormwater harvesting system will be completed at Dempster Park in Sunshine North.

Our target is to irrigate over 70 percent of our playing fields and open spaces from alternative sources.

Water Quality

To further reduce the amount of stormwater pollutants reaching our waterways, Council has installed a growing number of other water sensitive urban design (WSUD) assets including raingardens, swales, tree pits and wetlands. In 2021 Brimbank currently has 137 raingardens, 30 swales, 21 tree pits and 35 wetlands.

What you can do

Brimbank is a growing municipality. There are more and more pressures on our precious water supplies. Freshwater scarcity is posing a major problem around the world and we can all do our bit to help secure its future.

What are the current rules and restrictions to help us use water more efficiently?

City West Water has outlined some rules and restrictions for using water responsibly. To better prepare your family for a drought, visit their Drought Preparedness Plan.

Target 155

Did you know about the Target 155 campaign? 155 litres is the maximum amount of water each of us should try to use each day. On average Melburnians consume 162L/person/day. In 2019/2020 Brimbank residents consumed 157L/person/day.

Here is how your 157 litres of water is used each day:

Image supplied courtesy of City West Water. Figures based on City West Water’s report Residential End Use Measurement Study (August 2017 - July 2018).

Make Every Drop Count

Make Every Drop Count aims to encourage water conservation and mindful water use. It is an initiative of City West Water, Melbourne Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water.

Find out why water conservation matters and what you can do in the bathroom, laundry, kitchen and outdoors. There are lots of ways to save our precious water.

In the bathroom

Did you know that about 50 per cent of all water used in the home is in the bathroom?

What you can do Further information and resources
Take shorter showers (aim for 4min or less). Check out the Make Every Drop Count Facebook page with their 6 sec video or use your favourite song as a shower timer.
Exchange your showerhead for a more water-efficient one. You can swap your existing showerhead for a water-saving showerhead at:     

Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. Visit the Make Every Drop Count website or spend 5 minutes in the Smart Approved WaterMark blue house to find out how easy it is to save water.
Use the half flush button on the toilet (when you can!) Check if your toilet leaks.

In the kitchen

We use about 10 per cent of our household water in the kitchen but these little changes can make a big difference:

What you can do Further information and resources
Wash vegetables in a container, not under running water. Visit the Make Every Drop Count website.
Put your dishes straight in the dishwasher (no rinsing) and only run your dishwasher with a full load. For dishwasher tips visit Smart Watermark or the Make Every Drop Count website.
Catch running water while waiting for it to warm up and use it to water plants or top up pet bowls. Visit the Make Every Drop Count website.
Only put the dishwasher or washing machine on if you have a full load and use the eco settings. For further smart water advice and water-saving videos check out Smart Watermark.
If you're in the market for a new machine, choose a water efficient dishwasher. Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme (WELS)      

We use the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme. This scheme uses a six-star rating system to rate a product's water efficiency. Check the star ratings of your water appliances to help reduce your bill and save water.

In the laundry

The laundry consumes about 10 per cent of a household’s water use. On top of that, washing machines use lots of energy and detergents.

Try these tips to cut down your water use in the laundry:

What you can do Further information and resources
Use the eco setting on your washing machine and always make sure you have a full load. Visit the Make Every Drop Count website.
If you're in the market for a new machine, choose a water efficient front loader. Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme (WELS)      

We use the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme. This scheme uses a six-star rating system to rate a product's water efficiency. Check the star ratings of your water appliances to help reduce your bill and save water.

Check taps for leaks and install water efficient tapware. Visit Smart Approved Water Mark and search for taps.


Go easy with the hose! Outdoor water use accounts for a hefty percentage of the average home’s water use.

Here are some handy hints to help save our precious water:

What you can do Further information and resources
When washing your car at home, use a bucket in the front yard to reduce waste. Visit the Make Every Drop Count website.
Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation. Visit the Make Every Drop Count website.
Install a rainwater tank and connecting to your toilet and/or garden.  
Use your grey water on the garden (using an enviro-friendly detergent). Check out My Smart Garden Water section to find out more about grey water regulations and tips on detergents to use.
Plant flowers that use less water and water your garden at dusk or dawn. Visit My Smart Garden website to find out what to plant.
Mulch your garden to reduce evaporation by up to 70%. Sustainable Gardening Australia has more water conservation and irrigation ideas.

What else can you do to help?

Improving the quality of our water

‘Stormwater’ is a surface run-off from rain and storm events that enters the drainage system. The water picks up pollutants like litter, leaves, sediment, and oils. See the Environmental Protection Authority's for types and causes of stormwater pollution.

You can be a local hero of waterways!

How can we protect our waterways and reduce pollutants in stormwater?

  • Checking your stormwater drains and making sure they are clear of litter and waste
  • Using eco-friendly fertilisers and pesticides in the garden
  • Dispose of your waste water properly, which includes not allowing chemicals like paint, vehicle wash water or fertilisers onto the road or hard surfaces like footpaths
  • Building a raingarden/swale
  • Having ‘permeable’ paving such as pebble paths and lawns to help capture and slowly release stormwater
Saving water in the community including businesses and schools


Are you a local business looking to

  • Save water?
  • Dramatically improve water efficiency?
  • Discover best practice guidelines to reduce your water bills?
  • Measure your water use against other businesses?

You can check out:

Or do you need funds to create a large scale irrigation project or water conservation project? Find out more about funding environmental upgrades at Better Building Finance.


Community action: Connect with your local waterways by:

Community Funding

If you’re a volunteer/community group wanting to protect local rivers/creeks, Melbourne Water has guidelines on how you can be eligible for funding.

School Resources

  • Australian Water Association Online Learning Festival features live events, Storytime videos, mindfulness, STEM experiments and more.
  • Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP): Find leaks, save water and promote water education in your school.
  • City West Water: classroom incursions, Do-It-Yourself presentations, curriculum resources and downloadable classroom worksheets. 
  • Water Watch: a community engagement program connecting you with river health, and water sustainability and management.
  • Melbourne Water: Browse learning resources by year level (Foundation-Year 10) and explore resources by curriculum area. Check out Melbourne Water’s feature programs and resources including; River Detectives, Frog census, Platypus census, Western Treatment Plant virtual tour and Drip Trip: the game.
  • Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart water module has “how to” guides, water audit information and (Foundation-Year 6) curriculum links.
  • Brimbank Schools Sustainability Water Resources: Foundation - Year 2Year 3 - 4Year 5 - 6.
  • Brimbank Schools Sustainability Resources, The Story of Water: PowerPoint.
  • My Smart Garden website to view webinars, find out how to make your own wicking beds and tips on how to make your garden thrive in the heat!
  • National Water Week is 16-22 October. 
Water supply and storage

What are our current water storage levels?

Our water storage levels always change. Melbourne Water has the latest information.

Where does our drinking water come from?

City West Water is Brimbank's drinking water, recycled water, and sewerage services, provider. 

To get to your tap, water travels through reservoirs, treatment plants, and many kilometres of pipes. Brimbank owes its prosperity and growth in part to healthy water resources.

Factors affecting water supply

Water storage levels can drop quickly due to ever increasing pressures such as:

  • climate change;
  • population growth;
  • logging; and
  • economic development.

Our climate is now characterised by:

  • longer and drier periods;
  • greater temperature extremes; and
  • more intense storm events. 

All these factors dry out the land, affect rainfall patterns, and reduce how much water enters our reservoirs, affecting our water storage levels. Hotter drier conditions also increase the risk of bushfires, placing further pressure on our drinking water supplies.

Logging occurs within four of Melbourne’s water supply catchments, including the Thomson catchment that provides most of our water and is critical to our water security.

Logging in the Thompson catchment is causing water loss equivalent to the amount used by 250,000 Melbournians each year.